September 30, 2010

I Like Thursday

Good things about today:
- You can get money for recycling cans and bottles here!
- Three of my four favorite shows are on TV tonight.
- Bought some cute flipflops on clearance at PacSun.
- Getting my hair straightened by someone else.
- Happily putting together packages full of nice things for
people that I love, to be mailed in the morning.

Hooray, hooray!

September 29, 2010

there, but not

The almost-were, who never formed; the ones not breathing,
voice unheard; the safely launched then quickly gone, or with
us long and snatched away.
Death came and took them, one by one; the how--it hurt;
the loss--much more, as memories spill, of those we knew,
or not yet knew ...
the ache’s the same.

They came to us, as if on loan, not really ours to keep
(as if love can be harnessed, owned). They visit now
through shadows' mist. The ache subsides, then crashes
forth; retreats, returns--a shriek, a moan, and when
grief's spent, no words at all;
not even words unsaid.

We settle down into the now, but with us still, the
There-but-Nots--within, without; not there, yet
There; we hold their place, that empty space inside we keep
for them (and only them) to fill, our loved, beloved
lost ones--gone,
still there.

via Salamander Cove

September 28, 2010

distillation of memory

Bathing in someone else's tub, an uncommon luxury
proffered graciously, accepted gratefully.

Hot water and bubbles that shimmer, piled high
above smooth white porcelain walls

and perched on one side, a blue soap
in the shape of a baby dinosaur, smiling.

September 27, 2010

one lovely blog

love·ly   /ˈlʌvli/ [luhv-lee]
adjective, -li·er, -li·est, noun, plural -lies, adverb

1. charmingly or exquisitely beautiful: a lovely flower.
2. having a beauty that appeals to the heart or mind as well as to the eye, as a person or a face.
3. delightful; highly pleasing: to have a lovely time.
4. of a great moral or spiritual beauty: a lovely character.

Jessica from Too Beautiful For Earth gave me this blog award. Thank you, sweet friend! Now I get to pay it forward. A few of these blogs have already been nominated, but that is not my fault. ;)

Lovely to Look At:
- {bits of beauty}
- Mila's Daydreams
- Deerlings and Ghostthings
- you are my fave

Lovely to Read:
- mackin ink
- Paper Face

Lovely (and articulate) Babyloss Mamas:
- Demeter's Feet
- Life After Benjamin
- still life with circles
- Little Bird


Most women, at some point or other, suddenly realize that their baby's life has become more valuable to them than their own. Given the choice, we would do anything to keep that baby from harm, even to our own detriment. (This is not remotely rational, but there it is.) And yet, our bodies do not follow suit. Our bodies will choose us, every time.

Poor bodies. You were only following your tidy algorithms, your infallible logic. You did not know we would rather our child had lived, and we had not. You did not know we would resent you, regardless of whether you had anything to do with it at all. That we would think you had betrayed us, and therefore we had somehow betrayed our child.

September 21, 2010


Do you ever go to your own blog, and then feel disappointed because there is nothing new there to read? Perhaps this is simply part of my crazy. I don't know.

I wish I was more inspired; instead I am just hungry. I've been hungry all day. But I know very well that what I'm missing has nothing to do with food.

don't forget


September 20, 2010

In the End

in the end
you still
in me
like clouds
in a vernal pond
whose sky
has vanished

by Chris Agee

tongue in cheek

A little lighthearted musical social commentary. Brilliant. I like.

September 19, 2010

fall fashion

I have to admit, my very favorite thing about fall has always been the clothes. I love boots and sweaters, scarves, tights. I love the richer colors and textures. In the summer months I am happy to be warm -- but too sweaty to feel very chic -- and in the winter I am grumpy and too cold. In the fall, however, I can layer up and feel put together and amazing every day. Yay, fall!

PS: Jill, please ship me my dresses and boots! I neeeeed them... Else I will go and buy more, which is bad.

Photos via Anthropologie and weheartit

September 18, 2010

turn, turn, turn

The lazy heat of summer lingers here, during the day, though the calendar declares it to be mid-September and certainly the beginning of fall. Most nights are cooler now. And the gentle breezes, when they blow, send newly brittle yellow leaves skipping and skittering across the sun-warm stones of our back patio with a delightful, raspy sound. The smell of them, of autumn leaves, is magic; I would fill my whole house with it if I could.


Summertime is when I moved here, so as long as it is summer, my move is still new. But in the fall, this can be where I live; where I work and play and cook and read. Where I put pictures up on the wall. Where I think about making new friends. This can be where I remember my babies freely, without old ties, old guilt; without worrying about what anybody thinks. I can assimilate them more fully into my everyday life. I can relax. I can love who I am; all of who I am. I can explore what it means to belong.


Summer's end means the grueling anniversaries of my children's deaths have passed by, too. The tickers on my sidebar keep counting the days, but right now the numbers don't floor me like they did. It's been a year, it's been three years. The months will go by, the seasons will continue to change, the years will keep piling up, and my kids will still be just as gone. I know there will be times when I feel myself suddenly in the grip of it again: the helpless hopelessness, the grief. But for now there is some slight reprieve. I just miss them. I will always miss them. They will always be a part of me.

Click the link below to submit a post in the "Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope"
monthly writing challenge

September 17, 2010

the abyss

I feel sometimes like I'm pushing my pain away with one hand, and grasping at it desperately with the other. So I'm afraid that, even when I allow myself to be sad, this ache I feel may be just the tippy top of my grief, just the fine edge of it. And one day I might be pregnant again, but I will be fully present this time, and then (especially if my baby is born alive), I'm afraid I might topple into all that grief over what I lost before, that I knew but didn't-quite-know was there. And I will drown. Or be impaled. Or suffocate. Whatever metaphor seems to fit best at the time. And... and what? And my brain stops there. Balks. Will go no further. Because if I did that, I would fail my child, my theoretical child who had -- finally -- lived, and who would need me more than ever to be a functioning person. And that thought is simply unbearable.

gone baby gone

I read other women's stories and I can see how the shock of it, the unexpectedness of not getting what you thought you would get, could completely derail a person for quite some time. But when I think of myself, of my own story, the grace I feel is somehow less encompassing.

I was derailed too, at the very very beginning; but the feeling seemed to wear off pretty quickly each time. Perhaps too quickly; perhaps more quickly than is normal or right. Because in my life, very few things have gone how I thought they would go. Much has been stolen from me. I have suffered so many losses, in so many realms. It is almost old hat.

Is my pain somehow less, for being so familiar? Or do I simply hold it farther away from myself? Do I shrug it off, say: This is just how it is for me? Have I acknowledged, truly, in the deepest part of myself, that this loss is COMPLETELY unfair and there is no making it better? That it is NOT OKAY for me to be wounded this way; that it was never okay?


If it weren't for this deeply rooted belief that I deserve to be alone, could I bear my lonliness? If I shed the false "comfort" that this is simply how I am meant to be (alone, forever) would I be able to get up every morning? I wonder. Because if I force the thought: "I did not deserve for my children to die," tears prick my eyes instantly. If I don't deserve it, that makes it so much worse. If I don't deserve it, it's all just tragically unfair. How can I live in a world where it is possible to be hurt this much?


It's horrible and wrong and I wish it was different and yet, because I still seem to eventually lose everything that really matters to me (and only time will ever prove differently), to be honest I can hardly wrap my brain around the idea of a world where my babies don't die. To quote dear Angela: "I don't know what it's like to have a four month old. I only know what it is to miss you with every breath I take."

When (if) I actually have a living child -- an infant, a four month old, a toddler -- will I be able to look at him/her and ONLY see him/her? Or will the ghosts of my first two children manifest themselves around me, distract me from the present, make me prone to unexplainable bouts of tears? Will I suffer a little even as I celebrate each precious milestone? Every time I think to myself: Ah! So this is what it's like?

I think of all these things and in my mind's eye a long road of grief unfolds and stretches and stretches and stretches before me.

September 16, 2010

self preservation

a disturbing memory

I remember when my last cat died; I was 12 years old, and he was the third cat I'd had in as many years. I held him gently in my arms and cried hot tears onto his soft grey fur. His belly sagged unnaturally in my lap, flattened by my mother's minivan, and he cried pitifully and gripped my leg with his front paws. The claws hurt, digging deep into my bare thigh, but I didn't care. My hands fluttered helplessly over his body, hardly wanting to touch him anywhere for fear of causing him more pain. Eventually his eyes rolled back in his head, and he went still, and it was in that moment that I decided I would never love another cat. It just wasn't worthwhile; not anymore. This was the final lesson; I had discovered that I could not keep anything I loved. And I decided I would do what I could to protect myself. I would choose to not-love. I would not-love any more cats. I would not-love any more dogs. I would not-love my clothes. I would not-love my toys. I would not-love myself.

But I would love my parents. My scary, confusing parents. Maybe, if I loved them, someday someone would take them away.

September 15, 2010

a gift for you

Hello lovelies. In honor of my own kids, I decided to make some presents for you and yours. (Actually, it's pretty much an Ailis idea. Noah wouldn't really be interested.) I spent some time over the last couple of days to make them and take the photos, and I hope you like the result. Go to the album, and find your photo. Click to view; right-click to "save picture as" on your computer. Cheers!

If you are a BLM, and read my blog but are not one of my followers, please let me know and I will make one for you also if you like!
--vera kate


I wore my elephant necklace today. A woman said she liked it, and I got to tell her that it was in memory of my daughter. It is so great to say those words out loud: my daughter.

Because I have a daughter, you know.

I write about her, and I think about her all the time; but nobody wants to talk about her with me. I've probably only said her name out loud a handful of times. If she was still here, I'd have said it a million times by now. Ailis! Ailis, Ailis, Ailis, Ailis, Ailis. Lissie-doll. Baby A. Lissie-my-Lissie. Li Li.


I don't get to hold her, or brush her hair, or take her picture. I don't get to dance with her in the living room or sing with her in the car. I don't get to read her favorite books aloud, or watch her play.

I just wear this necklace with an elephant on it, a necklace I bought for myself, and hope that someone asks me why.

September 13, 2010


Imagine a box
green and lacquered
painted with gold
polished hasps

I will write my hopes
on index cards
and tuck them inside

or burn them
at havdalah
that separation between
holy and profane

a friend clasps
my hand, reminds me
you were a mother
honor that

and everything
I've been picturing
crumbles to ash
and blows away

Rachel Barenblat
from Miscarriage Poems: THROUGH


I get up too fast. There is a great rushing of blood; my vision darkens. In my ears is the rhythm of my own heart's beat, only different. Swift and stacatto, distant and echoing... Can you hear it? Have you heard it before?

It sounds exactly like a fetal doppler: wop-wop-wop-wop-wop-wop-wop-wop-wop.

Gradually my sight clears. The eerie sound stops as suddenly as it started, which is somehow worse than the jarring onset of the sound itself. I discover, then, that I am cold, and I cannot remember how to breathe.

September 12, 2010

the vast soft interior of the universe

As I lay there, listening to the soft slap of the sea, and thinking these sad and strange thoughts, more and more and more stars had gathered, obliterating the separateness of the Milky Way and filling
up the whole sky. And far far away in the ocean of gold, stars were silently shooting and falling and finding their fates, among those billions and billions of merging golden lights. And curtain after
curtain of gauze was quietly removed, and I saw stars behind stars behind stars, as in the magical Odeon of my youth. And I saw into
the vast soft interior of the universe which was slowly and gently turning itself inside out. I went to sleep, and in my sleep I seemed to hear a sound of singing.

Irish Murdoch, The sea, the sea

September 11, 2010

for my children, present and future

Oh, my loves! There are so many things I want you to know. I want you to know how glad I am that you are mine; want you to know it as well as you know your own name. I want you to know that even when you make my life harder, when you argue or misbehave, when you do something completely maddening, I wouldn't trade you -- or our time together -- for anything. I promise that I will do my best for you as a parent, always. And when I suspect I am missing something crucial, I will call for reinforcements. I promise to find the people who can make up for what I lack. (No one can do everything. We all need help, sometimes.) I am committed to cultivating the unique awesomeness of who you already are as a person, so that when the time comes for you to be set loose in the wide world, I can be so very proud of what we have accomplished together.

I am pretty sure you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. You are all that and a bag of chips. You are any other complimentary food-related cliches that I can't think of right now, and non-food-related ones too. You are a champion. You are brilliant. You are the best of the best. I will never, not ever, change my mind about that.

All my love forever -- mama

September 10, 2010

recap & examination

It wasn't so bad. (The night at work, I mean.) A couple of my co-workers managed to cheer me up enough to get me through.

And the experience made me look more closely at a hard truth. The truth about why I said "Okay." Even though I didn't want to. Even though I was rejecting the idea with every part of myself. It is the story of my life. My fight-or-flight response mechanism has been brutally maimed. I'm more of the play-dead type. It's how I survived the horrors. So when I have a visceral response to a situation that tells me it is not good, I also have an ingrained, counterintuitive voice that kicks in and immediately tells me I better just brace myself and shut the fuck up, because if I don't accept the situation as is, it might get even worse, and I can't risk that.

So, it went like this: I was in an environment where I was emotionally overwhelmed, though I hadn't quite registered that fact yet. My phone rang, and even though I had promised myself that morning not to answer if work called, I was feeling so off balance by that point that I decided to go ahead and pick up. I was asked to come in, and I absolutely did not want to. And here's the kicker! Because I absolutely did not want to, I believed, somewhere deep down, that I had to.

I hate this thinking. It makes me feel deeply sad and angry and nauseated and a little dizzy all at the same time. Because even though this was a fairly harmless situation, mildly annoying at worst, in the moment, emotionally and spiritually, it felt so much like my childhood. My power was gone. I laid it down because I believed I had no other choice but to do so. But thankfully, giving up my power made me angry. It has always made me angry, which is why I think I survived this long with my soul intact. If it didn't make me angry, I would have given up on life long ago. I would be scattered to the four winds. I would be dead.

I am grateful for my introspective abilities, and that I did not, in this instance, betray myself in some unforgivable way. There are worse things than picking up an extra shift at work. At least I will have made an additional $20 or so on my next paycheck. It's just the way it came about that irks me. The regression brought on by stressful circumstance. The broken promise to myself, an echo of so many promises broken before.


Took my cousin to the doctor this afternoon. She's under 18, so her appointment was in pediatrics. I sat in a waiting room for over an hour as it became filled with more and more infants and toddlers and moms. At first it was okay, but soon I began to feel increasingly heavy. I looked around the room, and realized my good spirits of earlier were now crushed. I wasn't breathing well. I wanted to go to sleep right there, which is never a good sign. Then, I was so overwhelmed and disorientated that I actually answered the phone when my manager called me, and for some reason I agreed to go in to work later tonight. Ugh. Why do I do things like that? Every part of me was screaming, No! No! No! I don't want to! I'm supposed to have the day off! But what came out of my mouth, inexplicably, was: Okay. I'll be there.

Dammit. Dammit, dammit, damn. I am so mad at myself.

oh my goodness!

LOOK what I received in the mail:

Custom illustrations by the talented Meg from Olliegraphic.
Stationary printed by Sarah + Abraham.

Love, love, love! It has broken my heart all this time that I had no pictures of my children. But now I do! And they look so happy ;) For a highly visual person, this is a huge blessing, and I am so excited and grateful. I can't help smiling every time I see them.

We take what we can get, do we not?

September 9, 2010

a toast

Here's to the ignorant, obnoxious, complacent mothers, whose pregnancies go completely according to plan. May you never have the slightest idea what the hell I am talking about.

And here's to the rest of us. The wounded ones. Our online community like a Vet Hall filled with amputees; we sit in untidy circles, telling our traumatic stories over and over, wishing every time that they weren't ours to tell. But my dears, you tell them beautifully, truly. You tell those awful stories so very well.


My drink is gone, now. I guess it's time for bed.

September 8, 2010


There's no denying that losing my babies has made me a more compassionate person. Losing my children has made me gentler with myself and others. It has given me an intimate understanding of the intense fragility of life. Which is a kind of beauty from ashes, I suppose. A pale, attenuated beauty.

But I have to say, I would much rather be a bit less understanding, a little more naive -- a slightly crummier person all together -- if it meant I had my children here with me tonight.

September 7, 2010

missing persons

I miss him, miss them both. Miss the girl I used to think I was, before.


Tell me the first thing you think of when I ask you:
What is the truest thing that you know?

September 5, 2010


Last night, for the first time in my life, I slept on a mattress that no one else had ever slept on before. It felt good. Really good.

It was also my first night in my new room. It is bigger and brighter than my last one and -- most importantly -- feels like my own space already. I woke early and spent the first few hours of the morning just enjoying the clean light and the quiet.

I can walk around with bare feet again, here. I'd almost forgotten how delightful that is.

September 4, 2010


There is a lot going on right now, and I'd like to write about it, but every time I consider what to say, it just turns into this: gfsdjklafhweortqdjkvnxjkcpw.

September 1, 2010

the day after the day

A little numb today. Not much appetite. Eating chocolate cake leftover from yesterday's picnic for lunch. Or for tea, I suppose, as it's apparently 3:30 pm.
Time is slipping by with uncommon stealth.

last of days

"The world carries on without you, but nothing remains the same.
I'll be lost without you, until the last of days..."